If we want science to be firing on all cylinders, we need everyone in the research system – individuals, institutions and funders – working in step to foster a positive working culture.
Research environments that work well can be inspiring, fun and rewarding places to be, whether you’re working on a life-saving vaccine or garnering new insights into human behaviours. We need to embrace that spirit.
This is in everyone’s interest because if we aren’t working in a culture that’s creative, inclusive and honest, then we’re not getting the best research.
I want Wellcome to lead the way in reimagining research and I hope that others will join us. Further inaction is inexcusable – expectations across society are already shifting but academia is lagging behind.
We all have a stake in this debate. Today we are asking you to share your perspective by completing our survey. Whether you are engaged in research or supporting it, we urge you to share your experiences and help us to identify what needs to change and highlight what is great.
Based on your views, we will work with the community to develop ambitious goals that describe the research culture we all want to see. We will then use these goals to hold ourselves to account and will encourage other funders to join us.
We’ve already made improvements at Wellcome, including establishing and acting on our zero-tolerance stance to bullying and harassment, and making diversity and inclusion one of our first priority areas. But we have a long way to go. From now on we will be putting culture at the heart of everything we do, including the ongoing review of our science funding strategy.
I’m optimistic but recognise that changing culture doesn’t happen quickly and will require commitment. I see this new approach not as a token gesture or short-term objective but as a permanent shift in our way of thinking. We know we don’t have all the answers which is why I believe it’s important to work openly with the community to change. Building a better research culture together will be our legacy.
Our survey represents the first chance to steer that shift, so I urge you to take a few minutes to share your perspective and to encourage your colleagues to do likewise.
Research is a collective endeavour, the culture is shaped and owned by all of us. We all have a responsibility to keep the engine running smoothly. More than that, we need to keep the engine burning brightly so we continue to excite, challenge and build a better world.